The Queen & The Games - A Diamond Jubilee trubute
The Commonwealth Games Federation is delighted to be part of the celebrations marking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 60-year reign.
The Queen and the Commonwealth Games enjoy a long-standing association. The Queen is the patron of the CGF and has long believed that sport is a great force for good and can be usd to build communities and create harmony in society. Perhaps that is why she has placed such importance over the years on supporting 'the friendly games'.
Our world class, multi-sports event has been held once every four years – with a break for hostilities during the second world war. A message from the Monarch has been read at every games, and in 1958 a new tradition of the Queen's Baton Relay was begun. At Buckingham Palace, the Queen handed over her games message, enclosed in a specially designed silver-gilt baton, to two relay runners. The baton was then carried by a relay of runners to Cardiff so that the message could be read out by the Duke of Edinburgh.
The tradition still lives on today and, because it visits 71 nations and territories, is much longer than the relay for the Olympic torch. In 2010 for instance it went on a journey of 112,000 miles, taking a year and a day to reach Delhi. The 2010 baton also had text messaging capabilities so that messages of support could be sent to the baton bearers. In addition, it was embedded with lights that changed colour to reflect the flags of each country it was travelling in.
The next Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow in 2014. The organisers expect to sell a million tickets to 250 medal events.
While they are a fantastic sporting spectacle, the games also have a much greater significance. 'The games are the only cement common to all the Commonwealth countries', said Lord Seb Coe, former athlete and now chairman of the London 2012 organising committee. 'Sport is the one thing that makes that construction more relevant. The Commonwealth Games are really important."
Those bonds between the peoples of the Commonwealth have been celebrated to memorable effect in 'SING' – the wonderful Diamond Jubilee song featuring more than 200 musicians from across the Commonwealth and which was written by Take That's Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. You can watch the incredibly inspiring video here: